what inspired edgar allan poe to write poetry

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

i am doing this project for ap english that is due monday can any one tell me what inspired edgar allan poe to write poetry? Or what circumstances from his past life inspired him to write? i know bothe questions are similar but if u can help me i would appreciate it thanks

-- Anonymous, May 17, 2002


An old book by Thomas Ollive Mabbott on Poe's poetry is very good on the historical aspects. As a youth, the earleist fragment is somefhw similar to the brief sorrowful epigram on Virginia's death. Solitdue, loneliness, apartness, melancholy and disassociation from an unsatisfactory, fleeting reality run through his works within the forms that show his passion for beauty in sound and vision. Being an orphan then separated from his siblings, losing mother figures, estranged from his foster father, Mr. Allan added to his already heightened sense of his own uniqueness and perceptions. The poem "Alone" is an early ingenious effort. Influences of the British Romantics like Byron and Coleridge gave this psychology a role model and artistic model. Educated in Britain(agian a lonely experience).

At school up to West Point- and in many a taver after- Poe loved to exercise his wit, typically at the expense of authority figures and teachers. His first collection he sold to his cadet classmates at the Point to ease his debts disappointed them because it was filled with his serious romantic efforts. many of these poems were later reworked.

His personal poetic vision derives also from early vivid dream experiences detailed in his poems containing the word Dream in the title. He came to see that twilight borderland between two worlds of perception to be his poetic(and existential?) state. Dreamscapes abound(City in the Sea, Valley of Unrest, etc). Thus for Poe poetry expressed a feeling, a passion, a state of consciousness more than an idea he could pin down or a past or future he could not grasp.

read his essays on poetry and The Philosophy of Composition(caveat: his thoughts are disingenuous and perhaps a tease here). But his romantic ideal is well stated: the highest topic is the loss(death) of a beautiful maid. Personal experience reinforced that judgment if not forming it from the death of his young mother onward.

Texts with dates and variants are very complete at www.eapoe.org along with many other other articles and info, by far the best literary site on Poe.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2002

No matter how personal or trivial the inspiration Poe showed time and time again an overriding passion for the work of art per se. A poem you might attribute to his recently departed wife for example(Annabel Lee) he is more concerned about using for money and as a work of art. Hence all the revisions and reworkings.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2002

It was early spring, warm and sultry glowed the afternoon. The very breezes seemed to share the delicious langour of universal nature, are laden the various and mingled perfumes of the rose and the –essaerne (?), the woodbine and its wildflower. They slowly wafted their fragrant offering to the open window where sat the lovers. The ardent sun shoot fell upon her blushing face and its gentle beauty was more like the creation of romance or the fair inspiration of a dream than the actual reality on earth. Tenderly her lover gazed upon her as the clusterous ringlets were edged (?) by amorous and sportive zephyrs and when he perceived (?) the rude intrusion of the sunlight he sprang to draw the curtain but softly she stayed him. “No, no, dear Charles,” she softly said, “much rather you’ld I have a little sun than no air at all.”

-- Anonymous, May 24, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ